Saturday was a loooong day. We had disembarked in Spain after brekkie with barely an emergency cup a soup on board and needed supplies to see us through the mammoth trek we had planned.
Knowing the asturian leg of the Autovía del Cantábrico quite well I had planned for us to stop at the big Carrefour just beyond Santander. Turns out I disremembered both the Carrefour and the location and even better, when we stopped, the car park had a titchy height barrier. Luckily there was a Lidl in sight, so that was our first stop. Fridge and wine cellar were stuffed and snacks were shoved in every nook and cranny before we hit the road again.
My next planned stop was also a bit hit and miss. Lovely spot, but they were setting up for some kind of fiesta and the car park was both small and with narrow access. With the arrival of a handful of cars we thought we could end up blocked in if we stayed too long, so snaffled some butties and pegged it.
At this point the anklebiterz were getting a bit testy so we fired up the WiFi and they settled in to some youtubery. They had a couple of hours before someone demanded a wee stop and I just happened to check the usage whilst we were stationary – 5.5GB chewed through in just a couple of hours. It was promptly switched off again!
Eventually, O Grove was in sight and as we crossed the causeway it was clear that this one was a good choice. Blue Sea, blue sky, pine trees ( a bit worrying with all the recent wildfires) and long stretches of beach.
I reckon I originally found the campsite on Instagram, because in my head I had the views, the tipis and the gate on to the beach. When we got there, it was way smaller, with all the campers, caravans and tents smushed in tight with barely a gap. Initial impression was a bit deflating, but actually it didn’t last long, and by the end of the trip it was still the favourite.
I hadn’t paid a deposit, but they had asked for my mobile number to confirm the reservation on the day. This dawned on me at some point after lunch and I turned on roaming to promptly get a call from Martín, the little mester from the campsite, checking we were still en route.
On arrival, he met us and was really friendly and helpful, offered us a choice of 2 spots, but with the sardinelike nature of the layout we opted for the one NEXT TO the play area ⚠️⚠️😲😲⚠️⚠️ figuring that daytime noise wouldn’t be an issue, mainly as our two can out-shriek anybody. How wrong we were!
Some statistics: 43 euro per night for 4 including EHU, high season prices obvs. Clean and tidy johns and showers, mother can rest easy. Bar/cafe/mini shop (fresh bread every morning) terrace with sea view. Elsan, grey water disposal, laundry etc etc. We didn’t realise immediately but the camping is split in 2 by the road, with another portion across the way – which is why I couldn’t find the washing machine! Pitches, on our side of the road at least, were flat and level, although dry and dusty due to the hot weather and the sandy dust made everything mucky. Doormats were deployed.
The beach was very handy and the view was top, the sand was v.coarse so Walk and Surfs were necessary, the smalls had much fun jumping waves, chucking seaweed and generally goggling about in the wet.
I had planned all sorts of trips as we were due to stay for 5 days, but typically after a long drive and in 30°+ weather we didn’t really feel like going anywhere.
On the Monday we made the effort and drove up to La Coruña, which was a slog. 264km to be exact, with the 2nd fuel stop of the trip.
We were aiming for decent parking for autocaravanas and Google had suggested 3, based on the reviews I picked the one by the Roman lighthouse, with the aquarium car park as a back up.
By the time we got there, after negotiating an unexpected and stressful underpass scenario the aquarium came into sight first and had no space (it was getting on for lunchtime) so we moved up the hill towards the free car park at the lighthouse. After about 6 circuits, and some assistance from a slightly dodgy gitano (and for a tip of 2€) we got parked up and went to get tickets – only to find that on Mondays it’s free, but they had already sold their allocation of tickets for the whole day, so we’d have to admire it from outside. Consolationary ice creams were purchased and we headed off for a walk.
It was about 10 minutes walk back to the aquarium so we headed there thinking we could get summat to eat there when we finished. Wrong! There was a variety of artefacts, a few tanks, a seal, some mini boats to drive by remote control, a wave machine and a weird underground tribute to 20,000 leagues under the sea, but The Deep it wasn’t.
We had the choice of either aimlessly walking down the big hill in search of the city centre and an eatery or doing a van picnic and heading back for some beach time. We chose option 2 after a misty and mysterious walk back round the bay.
Having dedicated most of the day and several hundred kms to the Coruña outing, we reverted to lounging on the site and the beach, until Wednesday when we had reason to celebrate.
Foolishly when rebooking the ferry crossing, we tried to keep the price as reasonably as possible, which meant changing the dates, which in turn meant that Madamoiselle would be celebrating her birthday whilst we were away. Thus was sold to her in a sunshiney, beach party, cake by the ocean kind of way, which to be fair to her, she went with.
It had been necessary to be quite organised in terms of gifts – of a portable nature only, and I had also found myself squirreling away bunting, balloons and the like to create a festive ambiance. Needless to say after a day of gallivanting the balloons were in shreds. Hanging them on the hedge was clearly not wise.
Gifts were dispensed – a mobile phone of all things! And we set off around the island and over to La Toxa in search of a tasty meal.
We drove around the island in about 20 mins and headed for the main town of O Grove. Parked for nowt at the port and walked around town. Tacky tat shops a plenty and we actually bought a parasol for the beach, such was the heat. Kids bought random necklaces and we ended up in Taberna Ferriños for a parrillada de marisco and a bottle of local white.
We jumped back in the van and drove across the bridge to Illa da Toxa. Even smaller, but quite cute. Only the one parking place we saw that was near a little arcade of shops and shady woodland walk.
A short walk and we headed back for …
a swim and a hunk of cake.
Thus ended the Galician leg of the trip, Thursday saw us packing up and heading back to familiar territory.
Definitely worth the drive, although probably not all at once. Definitely worth a return trip as there is sooooo much we passed by.
On reflection, the campsite was great. Although it seemed a bit cramped when we arrived, the size of it meant that anything you needed was only a few steps away.
To explain the play area scenario, if it isn’t obvious, the Spanish lifestyle means that kids stay up late. The hot weather means the equipment is burning hot in the day time. So they come out at night, unfortunately our awning strip light makes perfect illumination, so we listened to hours of 3 year olds clambering and playing guess the fruit with their loud mother. Until we twigged, and sat drinking wine in the dark, that is!
Next leg Troenzo!